The Rainbow and the Stars

What Are the Stars Made Of?

The Rainbow and the Stars is a short film I wrote and produced about the science of spectroscopy. The film is a labor of love: the product of a lifelong interest in astronomy, and a passion to explain it to the world.

The study of the rainbow, and of optics in general, changed the way we understand the universe and ourselves. Once we believed that the sky was a realm of perfection and magic. Now we understand that we are part of the universe, that there is no real dividing line between Earth and space.

The patterns of coloured light generated by chemical elements — called emission spectra and absorption spectra — showed that both we and the stars are made of the same stuff.

And this discovery is one of the most revealing and awe-inspiring discoveries in human history.